CNN boss Chris Licht phones ‘anchors he’s never spoken to before’ in bid to keep job
CNN boss Chris Leach is hitting the phone with network anchors “he’s never talked to before” as he wriggles in the hot seat after a scathing magazine profile questioned his leadership, the Post has learned.
Licht, realizing his reign may be cut short after just one year, has engaged in major damage control that includes calling up the ratings-challenged network’s top talent, multiple sources said Tuesday. told the Post.
“He is calling anchors who have never spoken to him before,” said a source. “He needs to win the room but [Atlantic] The piece shortened its window of time to do so. “
Inside CNN, there is a countdown to when David Zaslav, CEO of network parent Warner Bros. Discovery, will pull the trigger to fire his appointed stooge after installing Lt. David Levy as CNN’s chief operating officer last week, sources said.
Some are speculating that the hammer will fall around the Fourth of July — in an attempt to bury the news over the holiday weekend — while others think Licht has a few months to turn things around.
“It’s a coin toss,” said one source, noting that no one but Zaslav really knows Licht’s fate. “But one thing is for sure, CNN needs to start planning its presidential election coverage.”
Already, internal names have been barred as to who will replace Licht, the sources said.
They include Amy Antellis, CNN’s executive vice president of talent and content development, and Virginia Moseley, CNN’s executive vice president of editorial for the network’s US operations.
Moseley, a Jeff Zucker acolyte, is a hard-nosed executive who “belittles” her underlings but is “great” at what she does, one source said.
Antilis, on the other hand, is “very soft” and generally well-liked by the rank and file, another insider said.
“Any internal promotion would be like moving around the deck chairs on the Titanic,” one source said, noting that CNN still has to turn around its disastrous ratings, which fell 25% in primetime in May from last year. had gone
Others think Zaslav could keep Licht and let him run editorial operations while Levy is essentially his boss, running the business, but such a demotion didn’t sit well with Licht — or the CNN staff, according to sources. can
CNN declined to comment.
The 15,000-word Atlantic exposé, written by Tim Alberta, portrayed Licht as a thin-skinned, aloof executive isolated from employees who no longer trusted his leadership.
Despite a mea culpa from Licht on Monday, CNN insiders have come down on their bosses for alienating supporters and critics, including veteran anchor Christian Amanpour, who held a town hall with former President Trump last month. had confronted Licht over his decision to host the
He has also failed to win over ousted predecessor Zucker loyalists, such as Dana Bash, who still remains in close contact with his former boss, according to one source.
Other top anchors, including Jake Tapper, Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper, have expressed their concerns about Licht’s leadership, with some complaining to Levy, according to sources cited. The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy blasted Licht in his Monday newsletter, “Reliable Sources,” writing “The Atlantic exposé” called Licht’s judgment into serious question. [and] His ability to lead the network’s staff.”
He added that Licht had “alienated a lot of the employee base and ruined the good will he had when he led the network,” noting that Licht was “more than a year into his tenure. Attempts to “reset relationships” may be rare. .
The reporter noted that Licht’s apology did not include his disdain for CNN’s previous journalism, which left the staff “disappointed” and “angry.”
Darcy wrote, “Many people are saddened by the terrible situation that has overtaken their beloved institution. “In the eyes of many people at CNN, there’s nothing Licht can do to win their support right now. They’ve hit a wall with him.”